Law enforcement sources say the FBI has arrested an agent of Pakistan's official state intelligence service, accusing him of making thousands of dollars in political contributions in the United States without disclosing his connections to the Pakistani government.
Syed Ghulam Fai will appear in federal court this afternoon in Alexandria, Virginia. He's not charged with being a spy. But he is charged with being an unregistered agent or lobbyist of the Pakistani government.
He's the exective director of a group called the Kashmiri American Council, the sources say, and he has given tens of thousands of dollars to congressional candidates and party organizations. U.S. officials say there's no reason to believe that members of Congress or other organizations that received his contributions were aware of his government connections.Politico's Ben Smith reports that Fai also contributed to President Barack Obama, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee and U.S. Rep. Yvette Clark (D-NY).
Today's news comes as former U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks announces her intentions to oppose Burton for the 5th District nomination next year. Dr. John McGoff already announced his third bid to defeat Burton, and former U.S. Rep. David McIntosh is also expected to run for the 5th District seat.
UPDATE: Burton tells the Star's Maureen Groppe that he is shocked to learn his long-time supporter is actually a spy for the Pakistani government.
"I've known Dr. Fai for 20 years, and in that time I had no inkling of his involvement with any foreign intelligence operation and had presumed our correspondence was legitimate," Burton said in a statement.
Burton tells Groppe he will donate the contributions he received from Fai to charity if it turns out the contributions were illegal. According to the FEC database, Burton received $7,500 from Fai over a several year period. WISH-TV's Jim Shellas claims Burton received $10,000 from Fai, while Politico pegged the number at $5,000.